Choosing Tigers a tough decision, says Radford

Lee Radford has admitted that he found it a difficult decision to go back on his agreement to act as the defence coach to the Dallas Jackals Major League Rugby club in the United States to become the Castleford Tigers new head coach from 2022 onwards.

Radford had told League Express that he saw the opportunity to coach in the USA as “the opportunity of a lifetime” and that he was looking forward to taking up his contract, which had been put back a year because of the Covid pandemic.

“That was a genuine comment, but there were obviously more conversations with Castleford,” Radford told League Express.

“My decision wasn’t made lightly and it wasn’t made over only one discussion.

“I was in an incredible position. It’s not often you have two dream opportunities and you have to choose between them.

“Due to Covid the Dallas job hadn’t yet got off the ground and that made the decision easier, as did the fact that I would have missed my sons in America.”

Radford then had to contact the Jackals to let them know he wanted out of his contract.

“Dallas were brilliant. Their Director of Rugby Allen Clarke was very understanding.”

In fact the Jackals have wished Radford all the best, with no hard feelings about his decision to stay in Britain.

“The Dallas Jackals would like to congratulate Lee Radford on being named Head Coach of the Castleford Tigers in West Yorkshire, England,” said a statement on the Dallas website.

“Coach Radford will join the four-time Challenge Cup champions starting in the 2022 season.

“On behalf of the Dallas Jackals, we are delighted for Lee and his family, though we were looking forward to Lee being part of our 2022 coaching team, we wish him every success as Head Coach of the Castleford Tigers. We have been kept informed throughout the process which allows us ample time to move forward with our own coaching recruitment.”

Meanwhile Radford is now playing an active role with the Tigers in discussions about which players to retain on contracts from 2022 onwards, while he is hoping that some of the club’s more established stars will want to stay at Wheldon Road, with Warrington thought to have already inquired about the possible availability of Jake Trueman.

“I would certainly hope that Jake will want to stay with Castleford,” he said.

“There is a perception that they are always fighting above their weight. But they spend up to the salary cap and I hope that with Daryl leaving the players will be able to see him off with a major trophy.”

And Radford makes it clear that he will have no problems with Tigers prop forward Liam Watts, who left Hull for Castleford in 2018 with reports suggesting a major disagreement between the two.

“I actually have a great friendship with Liam. He’s busy both off the field and on it and he’s a fantastic player. I would certainly rather have him in my team than playing for the opposition, that’s for sure.”

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